The Instigator
BangBang-Coconut
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points
The Contender
imabench
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points

Drinking Water

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
BangBang-Coconut
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/6/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 8,792 times Debate No: 19700
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (5)

 

BangBang-Coconut

Con

full resolution, "Resolved: Access to drinking water ought to be valued as a human right instead of as a commodity"

I'm hesitant about debating this topic here on DDO, but I figured it's at the very least worth a try.

I'll allow my opponent to go first when accepting this debate. I repeat: the first round is not just for acceptance, if you accept begin the round. I realize that I am at a disadvantage that way but I'm fine with that.
Make whatever kind of arguments you'd like, even semantics aren't off limit.

Debate/Argument style, rhetoric, etc. Feel free to argue however you'd like.

The only rule/stipulation is that by accepting this debate, you agree not to post any rules either. Neither to limit the resolution or your BOP.
imabench

Pro

I am flattered that the instigator is allowing me, the challenger, to use the first round for my arguments, becaus ethat then gives him a disadvantage since he now only has 3 rounds for arguments whereas I am granted 4. However to show respect to the Con that he has shown to me I will not offer any counter arguments in the last round for the sake of evenness. I will use the last round to simply re-state my points, nothing more nothing less.

I find access to water as one of the few necessities in life or a commodity that is needed to live. However it is a human right to have access to clean drinking water because if under any circumstances that access to clean water is taken away or compromised through pollution, then those people depending on that water just lost access to one of the few things in life that all humans need for simple survival.

A human right - any basic right or freedom to which all human beings are entitled and in whose exercise a government may not interfere (including rights to life and liberty as well as freedom of thought and expression and equality before the law)

http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

Right to clean water is a right to life because clean water is necessary for life while at the same time polluted water can cause severe health complications and if prolonged enough, death.

If drinking water, a necessity for life, is not a human right then here are some other essentials to life that would otherwise not be considered human rights,

Access to clean food,
Access to shelter,
Access to clothes, clean or dirty.
Access to pursue happiness.

That being said if things necessary for life were not a human right, then what would cause lesser rights that are not essential to life to also not be considered human rights? these rights would include

Right to a fair trial,
Right to speak freely,
Right to privacy,
Right to a working wage,
Right to practice your own religion,
etc.

My point is, water is an essential to life, and if humans were not guaranteed what is considered essential, then that would mean we wouldnt have any rights to what is considered unessential. If access to free drinking water is no longer considered to be a right of all of us, then other rights to other things just as important or even less would also thus have to be considered not a human right. However clean water is a human right because a human right as described above is any rights or freedoms that must not be interfered with because of any individual's right to live.
Debate Round No. 1
BangBang-Coconut

Con

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate! Before beginning, I would like to assert that my opponent may indeed use all four of their rounds for debate, rebuttal, or however else they may deem necessary. Like I said at the beginning, I do and being at a disadvantage, in fact I welcome the challenge. So again, feel free to use the final round as you wish.

= Con =
Obs 1: The burden of proof in this debate is on the Pro, as they are advocating a change to the status quo. Currently access to water is not considered a human right. It is instead a commodity, defined by Princeton wordnet as an article of commerce. Meaning something is bought and sold.

Obs 2: For something to be a legitimate human right, it must not contradict another already established right. For it to do so proves it to be illegitimate, as it shows that both rights cannot exist at once.

I concede to my opponent's definition of Human Right, and would like to take a moment to thank them for providing this necessary clarification. Furthermore I would like to place an emphasis on the later half of this definition, that a human right is something a government may not interfere with. This will come into play as a crucially important issue later on in this debate.

That said I will now progress into my arguments.

1. Availability-
According to [1]UniversityToday.com 71% of the earth's surface is comprised of water. It is the most abundant natural resource in the world, and is found in almost every corner of creation. So then it would seem that with such an abundance, a lack of water would be something we could only find in fairy tales and blockbuster movies. However of that 71% we also know that less than 3%[2] is actually safe for drinking. It is this very reason that we see shortages of water in many African countries[3], leaving the people without basic necessities for survival. And we've even seen this need in the great state of Texas with the recent droughts[4]. At this point it cannot be denied that Drinking water is incredible important, and that the need for it is great. However at the same time, we also come to the realization that many countries simply aren't able to supply (i.e. give access to) this precious recourse to their citizens. and they certainly aren't able to guarantee it to them as a human right. To do so would inevitably take that water away from some-one else, thus violating the rights of other citizens.
Interestingly enough, when we come to this basic realization, the point that water is in fact nothing more than a commodity is shown to be crystal clear. Even if my opponent convinces you that drinking water is a human right, it will still be treated as commodity. Accordingly the vote absolutely must default CON.

2. Moral obligation to business-
The right to work hard, and make a living for oneself is a fundamental principle of the american lifestyle. We see this categorized first under the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness, and furthermore by America's conformity to the principles of capitalism. So I can easily prove that we have an obligation to honor the rights of business here in the U.S. As for abroad, we see that the idea behind these rights is upheld in these nations as well. People have a right to be able to provide for themselves, and to make a living through the free market. According to philosopher John Locke[5] in the original state of nature, no one owned anything. All natural things where wild, and unowned by any person. However at the point a person put effort into a natural substance, that substance became their property.
Dasani, Deja Blue, Aquafina - these are all househeld names, as well as a beloved convience of any thirsty person on the go. I'm talking of course about bottled water.
By affirming the resolution, we effectively destroy these businesses, and leave them at the mercy of individual kindness. A thirsty jogger is running down the road, and decides to stop at a convenience store. He realizes he has no money, and decides to just take the bottled water and go. If we affirm that access to drinking water is a human right, then there is ultimately nothing stopping this scenario from becoming a very stark reality. There is no moral obligation to change access to drinking water from a commodity to a human right. We must instead do all we can to protect the rights of individual property.

Underview: While it is painfully clear that access to drinking water is not a human right, nor ought it be a human right, this does not mean that the CON opposes helping provide drinking water to those in need. Instead an effort should actively be taken by each individual to help those in need. By claiming that access to drinking water is a human right, my opponent ignores the true problem at hand, and their actions are counter productive to helping those in need obtan clean drinking water.

= Pro =

My opponent hasn't made any real argument as of yet. essentially, all they've done is help frame the debate and claim that anything that is necessary for survival is a right. However I would like to remind all the voters that without a legitimate warrant to back this claim up, all I have to do to refute it is say that it isn't true.

It isn't true.

Despite my opponent's argument sounding nice, there is no real reason to validate their claim.

Vote Con!
= Sources =
[1] http://www.universetoday.com...
[2] http://academic.evergreen.edu...
[3] http://www.africaheartwoodproject.org...
[4] http://www.sfgate.com...
[5] http://plato.stanford.edu...
imabench

Pro

1) Drinking water can serve as both a human right and a commodity. There are many companies that sell bottled water as a commodity like the Con claims and I am not denying that or saying that is wrong. However that does not completely negate the idea that humans have a right to clean drinking water because whether or not drinking water is a commodity or a right in a situation depends on two things, access to it and the right to keep it.

In sub-Saharan Africa like the Con said there are many countries that are strapped in water resources. However the case is here that these areas have too little fresh water resources available to sustain their populations, not that they are taking it from people and giving it to other people. Drinking water becomes a human right when people have access to it and then that access is compromised or taken away and those people now have no other access to clean drinking water. Anything other scenario though water becomes a commodity so drinking water is a human right and a commodity, and just because it is one does not mean it negates the other.

2) If Drinking water was a human right, it would not abolish the existence of bottled-water companies. These companies take water from a place where they are not taking it away from other people, and market it as a commodity based on convenience. It is their product and they have the right to sell it, and since drinking water can be a human right and a commodity, bottled water companies can still sell these products.

Lets look at the thirsty jogger in the Con's example. As the jogger goes into the store to take the water, that is plain theft because in this case the water is a commodity, a product sold by a company and put on sale. The Jogger still has other access to other sources of drinking water such as the tap in their own home or the water fountain right outside the store. If the Jogger buys the water, and then has it taken away from them, and that bottled water was the only source of clean drinking water they have in their life, THEN it is a violation of human rights. However in the jogger example shown here the bottled water is of convenience to the jogger, not of guarantee, so no human rights are in question and the jogger still has to pay for the water.

" If we affirm that access to drinking water is a human right, then there is ultimately nothing stopping this scenario from becoming a very stark reality"

Think of the right to free speech. A protester cant simply walk into a store and take a megaphone to go back outside and say why they think corporations are not people right? of course not. That is because the megaphone, like the water, is in this case merely a commodity sold on convenience. All humans have the right to free speech but according to what the Con's logic says there would be people stealing megaphones from stores all the time. If the Con thinks that if access to water was a right then people have the right to take water, then if the Con believes free speech is a human right then people have the right to steal megaphones too.

If that person then has his megaphone taken away by a cop while the protester was not breaking any rules, then that could be an infringement on the rights of the person's freedom of speech. The water argument goes the same way because like the megaphone, the water was originally just a commodity that could be bought and sold. It is only when those things are taken away does it become a violation of human rights.

3) "all he's done is help frame the debate and claim that anything that is necessary for survival is a right. However I would like to remind all the voters that without a legitimate warrant to back this claim up, all I have to do to refute it is say that it isn't true."

Here the Con is saying that I am claiming anything that is necessary for survival is a right, and wants me to provide a warrant to back this up....

Human right: Includes the right to life (The Con and I previously agreed on this)
Right to life: The human right that humans have the right to live
Live: For a human to live they need food, water, shelter, etc.
Water: Something necessary for humans to live and must have access to in order to do so

If a person is denied their only access to water, it endangers their right to live, that right is defined as a human right, so the right to access clean drinking water is a human right.
Debate Round No. 2
BangBang-Coconut

Con

For the sake of maximum clarification, I will refute my opponent's argument in the exact order he has presented them.

1.
+ The resolution gives my opponent the burden to prove that access to drinking water is a human right instead of a commodity. Meaning he is not allowed to attempt to achieve both at the same time, he must show that access to drinking water ought not be a commodity, and ought instead be a human right.

+ We've already established that access to drinking water is need for survival. That is painfully obvious. My opponent has not, however, established that it is a right. He has the claim, he lacks the warrant and the impact.

+ My opponent neither proves nor establishes anything here.

2.
+ The argument my opponent makes here is equivalent to a forfeit. He is advocating that water can exist as a commodity, which violates his BOP to show that water is instead a Human Right.

+ Exactly, the jogger's act is theft. Which shows us that he does not have the human right to have access to that drinking water. Furthermore to refute the later half of my opponent's argument, he has yet to establish access to drinking water as a human right.

+ In regards to my opponent's free speech example, I must ask; what? What on earth is my opponent attempting to advocate here? The right to free speech, and access to drinking water are two completely different things. The former is a deeply established right, one in which the parameters and restrictions are clearly known. The supposed right to "access to drinking water" is exceedingly vauge, and unfounded in the first place.
Furthermore, my opponent has the burden to specifically outline the right to access to drinking water before they may make an argument such as this. Otherwise this argument unfounded and unviable.

3.
+ The logical syllogism my opponent provides doesn't suffice to advocate access to drinking water as a human right. Were this logic to suffice, then suddenly everything is a human right is one can justify it linked to another right.

For instance
Black metal: Includes the right of free speech
Speaking of murder: Links to black metal
Mass murdering millions of people: Linked to black metal
Mass murder: Is human right protected under the freedom of speech.

In conclusion, my opponent's warrants are weak and do not suffice to warrant access to drinking water as a human right. He does not meet his own burden of proof. And his clash on the Con case is far from viable.

There can be no other vote in this debate than for the Con.
imabench

Pro

1) "Meaning he is NOT ALLOWED to attempt to achieve both at the same time, he must show that access to drinking water ought not be a commodity, and ought instead be a human right." - third round of the debate

"Make whatever kind of arguments you'd like, even semantics aren't off limit." - first round of the debate, by the same person.
"Debate/Argument style, rhetoric, etc. Feel free to argue however you'd like." - just after that also posted in the same round of the debate by the same person

Im arguing that drinking water can be both a human right and a commodity but should be more valued as a human right yet still be able to be bought and sold as a commodity, im allowed to do that according to how you set up this debate in the opening round. Instead of saying I should not do this maybe you should go into detail about how it is fundamentally impossible for something to be a right and a commodity under any circumstances.

2) My BOP is to prove that drinking water should be a human right more than a commodity, I dont have to claim that drinking water should under no circumstances be a commodity.

How are rights to speech and rights to drinking water "two completely different things" they both if taken away can constitute a violation of human rights, and I was using it as a comparison to highlight the flaw of Con's logic.

3) You question my logic and then try to mimic it and THIS is what you came up with?
"Black metal: Includes the right of free speech
Speaking of murder: Links to black metal
Mass murdering millions of people: Linked to black metal
Mass murder: Is human right protected under the freedom of speech."

I can point out a flaw in all but one stage of this "logic" the Con uses.
Line 2: I can name a dozen other reasons why someone may talk about murder that does not involve their music preference. It could be discrimination against people based on their race (1), ethnicity (2), it could be an act of revenge (3), jealousy (4), it could be by accident (5), it could be to send a message to other people (6), it could be done just because someone is mad at society (7), It could be in a war battle (8), It could be done in self defense (9), it could be done out of fear (10), it could be done because someone thought it was the right thing to do (11) and it could be done because someone thought someone else deserved to die (12)
Line 3: Name a single instance in history where something that ridiculous actually has occurred.
Line 4: Mass Murder is not a right protected under free speech because it violates many other human rights, drinking water does not do that.

The example regarding free speech is a syllogism to show that you can exist and have rights, such as right to free speech, but that does not mean people are entitled to take whatever they please to exercise that right. That completely debunks the Con's fear-mongering tactic to state that if water is a human right then people could take water whenever they please.

Rather than actually give intelligent counter arguments to my points the Con has argued about how I have not provided a solid argument showing how access to water is a right, and when I actually do show it he goes AWOL and tries to make my logic look foolish with one of the worst attempts possible.

1) I have argued that water can be considered a human right
2) I am allowed to argue that access to water can be a commodity and a right because the COn allowed me to make any arguments at the start of the debate
3) I have provided examples of how the Con's logic regarding the consequences of water becoming a human right is flawed.
4) The Con's entire response to my arguments include no actual facts or support or anything, just his own opinions of why he thinks my logic and my arguments are weak and shouldnt be allowed because they have defeated his own arguments and is trying to bend his own rules to try to invalidate them rather than offer evidence against it.
Debate Round No. 3
BangBang-Coconut

Con

Extend all prior arguments, I feel the point I've set out to prove has been made. Thanks to my opponent for the debate, vote Con!
imabench

Pro

The con hasnt offered any final counter arguments, so I cant exactly offer any of my own.

I thank the con for the debate and I would like to thank the voters who read all of this :)
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by imabench 5 years ago
imabench
I dont even know anymore...
Posted by Cobo 5 years ago
Cobo
hmmm. Was the pro here trying to run a balanced aff?
Posted by caveat 5 years ago
caveat
I believe all vendors in the food service industry in Canada, the UK, and several states in the USA are prohibited from charging for tap water on request (they can however, charge for the glass/cup).
Posted by imabench 5 years ago
imabench
Take your time, hell its your debate :P
Posted by BangBang-Coconut 5 years ago
BangBang-Coconut
I'm sorry I'm taking so long with my response >->
Posted by vmpire321 5 years ago
vmpire321
Huh. Heard of the "Right to Live"??? I believe that covers food and water.... >.<!
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
BangBang-CoconutimabenchTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: A weak debate, with neither side providing an analysis of the nature of human rights. But as Con argued, Pro had the burden of proof to show the nature of rights. Pro correctly observed that recognized rights are different from a right to take something. So whatever the pattern in rights, it doesn't include taking things.
Vote Placed by royalpaladin 5 years ago
royalpaladin
BangBang-CoconutimabenchTied
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Reasons for voting decision: This is a very weak debate in my opinion, which is sad because this resolution has so much potential. Although I agree with the Pro, I am forced to give the debate to the con because Pro concedes that drinking water is only a right if people have access to it. This just bolsters the Con case; Pro could have easily made a stronger argument. I will probably debate this resolution soon because it looks interesting. (I am a former LD debater, but I have never debated UIL resolutions.)
Vote Placed by InVinoVeritas 5 years ago
InVinoVeritas
BangBang-CoconutimabenchTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con's argument was more convincing.
Vote Placed by DanT 5 years ago
DanT
BangBang-CoconutimabenchTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I felt Con made a slightly more convincing argument.
Vote Placed by Boogerdoctor 5 years ago
Boogerdoctor
BangBang-CoconutimabenchTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Actually, I'm going to make it a tie. Pro fails to show it should be a right because it can't be applicable to all humans (therefore can't be a right), but I don't feel like con really shows it "ought" to be a commodity because humans kind of need it to survive. It's probably somewhere in between, but that's not either's argument even though pro tries to take it.